Most franchise fans were immensely pleased by the overdue just deserts served at the end of “Halloween H20” (1998). At long last, onetime babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) went medieval on her older brother, full-time psycho Michael Myers, bringing a hugely satisfying sense of finality to the long-running slasher series. All of which makes “Halloween: Resurrection” seem even more uselessly redundant and shamelessly money-grubbing than most third-rate horror sequels. Teen and twentysomething thrillseekers may be attracted to name-brand product pic, which wasn’t pre-screened for critics and amassed an estimated $12.3 million opening-weekend gross. But only the most obsessed completists among vet devotees are likely to buy tickets. Expect a fast fade from theatrical venues, followed by a speedy, ahem, resurrection on homevid.
First 15 minutes are especially painful for anyone who admired Curtis’ compelling portrayal of Laurie in the first “Halloween” (1978), John Carpenter’s seminal slasher thriller; “Halloween II” (1981); and “H2O.” (Much like “H2O,” “Resurrection” wisely pretends that all other sequels — especially the totally unrelated “Halloween III” — simply didn’t happen.)
Poor Laurie is stuck in a mental hospital because, according to the spoilsports who made this latest episode, what auds saw happen at the end of “H2O” didn’t really happen after all. Yeah, right.
Once Laurie is written out of the picture — perhaps permanently, though you can never be certain in this series — focus shifts back to Michael’s hometown of Haddonfield, Ill. A couple of “reality television” entrepreneurs (played by rapper Busta Rhymes and supermodel Tyra Banks) are plotting a live remote from the now-decrepit Myers family home, where Mad Mikey began his bloody career many years ago. Not surprisingly, nothing good comes of this.
The producers of “Dangertainment” select six slices of fresh meat… er, that is, six attractive college students to spend the night in the Myers home.
Each is equipped with digital video headsets and Internet uplinks. And several video cameras have been placed in strategic places throughout the house. This way, Internet viewers will be able to see all the action from multiple perspectives, or choose to focus entirely on one or two subjects.
Or, better still, they’ll be able to zoom in for a close-up when Mikey — who, wouldn’t you know it, just happens to be living in the basement — begins to slice and dice his way through the intruders.
The multiple-camera video gimmick, which suggests a cross between “The Real World” and “The Blair Witch Project,” is a reasonably clever idea. Trouble is, director Rick Rosenthal (who also helmed “Halloween II”) does next to nothing with it. Very quickly, “Resurrection” devolves into the kind of bloody mess critic Roger Ebert was thinking about when he coined the term “Dead Teen-Ager Movie.”
Ryan Merriman has a few amusing moments as an Internet viewer who tries to instant-message warnings to one of the “Dangertaiment” stars via the latter’s hand-held computer. But most other observers won’t be nearly so excited. Indeed, some ticket buyers may actually become irritated and impatient while waiting to see which character will be the next to wind up on the business end of a sharp object.
The hit list of potential victims includes Donna (Daisy McCrackin), a sexy existentialist (and Julianne Moore lookalike) who provides the mandatory gratuitous semi-nudity; Jen (Katee Sakhoff), a bosomy ditz (and Tori Spelling lookalike — is this a pattern, or what?) who wants to be a movie star; Rudy (Sean Patrick Thomas), a would-be chef who thinks Mad Mikey was driven to murder by a bad diet.
Then there’s Bill (Thomas Ian Nicholas of the “American Pie” movies) as a horny law student; Jim (Luke Kirby), a leather-clad art student who sounds a lot like a Christian Slater in his “Heathers” mode; and Sara (Bianca Kajlich), the plucky virgin who always outlives her lusty friends in this kind of pic.
Most performances, like pic’s tech values, are no better than they have to be. Even so, special mention must be made of Busta Rhymes, whose smooth-talking entrepreneur character doesn’t take any crap from anybody, not even a masked maniac with a large knife. Rhymes appears entirely capable of going on to bitch slap Freddy, Jason and any other bogeyman who gets in his way.